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Emerald Coast Thankful: From Our Table to Yours

As we look ahead to November and reflect on the coming holiday, our team here at The Premier Property Group (PPG) recognizes that we have many reasons to be thankful. Not only are we celebrating 15 years as one of the top locally-owned, independent real estate firms in Northwest Florida, but we get to represent some of the most amazing clients and communities in the state and beyond.

Like most areas of the country, families along the Emerald Coast will gather for Thanksgiving, putting aside differences and reflecting on all that is good and brings us together as human beings. And notably, they will enjoy the holiday within some of the panhandle’s most sought-after neighborhoods–throughout South Walton, Scenic Highway 30A, Destin and Panama City Beach–amid the backdrop of the mild temperatures, emerald green waters and sugar-white beaches that characterize our region.

While the traditional turkey, dressing (or stuffing if that’s your fancy) and fixings will adorn many tables, others will choose a spread that reflects the area’s amazing Gulf-to-Table cuisine, according to Alexandre Correia, a PPG agent and owner of a local catering business. “People visiting the area during Thanksgiving like to venture out. They want seafood, Southern cooking and anything that takes on the flavor of the coast, and with as many twists of Florida as possible,” he said. “A typical Thanksgiving menu for our clientele might include a low country shrimp boil, roasted vegetables such as acorn squash and brussels sprouts and key lime pie—everyone wants key lime pie.”

Alex’s clients can choose from a variety of menu options, ranging from dinner style to family style and covering everything from four- and five-course dinners to themed offerings such as oyster bars or taco bars. He noted that visitors and local residents alike appreciate the conveniences and intimacy of catered events over restaurant outings. “My biggest crowds are families with kids because it’s hard for them to make reservations, and no one wants to stand in line at a restaurant for 45 minutes to an hour with 10 kids,” he pointed out. “My clients appreciate the family atmosphere we provide.”

In addition to his real estate services, Alex has watched his catering business grow substantially over the past five years by word of mouth only. During the high tourism season, the company saw nearly daily bookings, many from repeat clients and back-home friends of clients who visited the area. Hailing from Brazil, he also receives many requests to incorporate Brazilian elements into his offerings.

Alex will cater for a group of 60 during the upcoming Thanksgiving week, and while the menu will not likely look very traditional, he does have his own delectable recipes that his own family enjoys during Thanksgiving including:

Avocado-Pomegranate-Arugula Salad

  •         2 tablespoons coconut oil
  •         1 acorn squash, sliced in 1/2-inch thick rounds and seeds removed
  •         1/4 teaspoon salt
  •         1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  •         2 teaspoons brown sugar
  •         1/2 cup whole pecans, chopped
  •         1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  •         6 cups baby arugula
  •         1 avocado, sliced
  •         1 pomegranate, arils removed
  •         1 seedless cucumber, sliced

Pomegranate ginger vinaigrette

  •         1/3 cup pomegranate juice
  •         1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  •         1/4cup of white balsamic
  •         1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  •         1 garlic clove, freshly grated
  •         1/4 teaspoon salt
  •         1/4 teaspoon pepper
  •         1/3 cup olive oil
  •         1 tablespoon of maple syrupHeat a large skillet over medium heat and add coconut oil. Cover the squash slices with salt and pepper, then add them to the skillet and cook until golden, about 5 minutes per side. If desired, you can add the brown sugar to help the squash caramelize. Heat a small saucepan over low heat and add the pecans. Toast until they are slightly golden and fragrant, stirring and shaking the pan as they toast, for about 5 minutes. Toss them with the pumpkin pie spice. Add the arugula to a large bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add in the avocado, pomegranate arils, cucumber, pecans and squash pieces. Cover in the pomegranate dressing.

Pomegranate ginger vinaigrette
Combine pome juice, vinegar, ginger, garlic, maple syrup, salt and pepper in a large bowl and whisk together. Stream in the olive oil while constantly whisking until the dressing comes together. (A hand blender works fine too)

Grilled Cinnamon Pineapple:

  •         1 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into spears
  •         1 cup brown sugar, packed
  •         1-3 teaspoon cinnamon, ground, more or less to taste
  •         2-4 tablespoons butter, cold, cubed
  •         cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil and a light coating of cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a large resealable bag. Add the pineapple spears, close the bag tightly, and shake it so that the cinnamon and brown sugar totally coat the spears. Press sugar mixture onto spears as you remove from bag and place on prepared baking sheet in a single layer.
  3. Place tiny butter cubes across the top of the pineapple spears. At 10 and 20 minutes flip pineapple spears over into melted sugar on the baking sheet. Bake until pineapple juices bubble, 25-30 minutes. Enjoy!

As we finalize our menus in the coming weeks, we would also like to share some of our family favorites with you for the upcoming holiday.

Cranberry Congealed Salad By Barbara Schott

  • 1 (3 oz) package cherry-flavored gelatin
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 (6 oz) can whole-berry cranberry sauce
  • 1 orange, peeled, sectioned, chopped and drained
  • 1/2 cup diced apple
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • Lettuce leaves
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise or salad dressing

Combine gelatin and boiling water; stir until gelatin dissolves.  Add cranberry sauce, stirring until blended. Chill until the consistency of unbeaten egg white.  Fold in orange, apple, and pecans. Spool mixture into 6 lightly oiled 2/3-cup molds or custard cups; cover and refrigerate molds until firm.

Unfold onto lettuce leaves.  Combine sour cream and mayonnaise; service alongside salad, or top each with a dollop.  Yield: 6 servings

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